In April 2021, I submitted five entries to a postcard story (500 words or less) writing contest by Geist magazine. Of these, two used the same postcard image shown at right, with the other story being the previous post. They were both inspired by stories in David Eagleman’s delightful short story collection about the afterlife called Sum. One of my entries got short-listed, but not this one. Still, I enjoyed the thinking and writing process, and wanted to share it with you. I hope you’ll like it.
If you liked these postcard stories and wanted to see others I had submitted, please click here.
The Non-Christian Gambit
The Christians were right. At least most right. Though they were still mostly wrong. In the afterlife, there is a white light, and something resembling Heaven and Hell, but nothing actually close to any of it. However, the truth wouldn’t have been appealing to attract followers, whose synaptic energy Jesus and Satan needed to survive and thrive!
You die when your synaptic energy and your vital functions lose their abilities to control each other. This insufficiency causes the former to become unstable and phase into a certain multiverse among the many theoretical physics has predicted, but not yet proven. There, your synaptic energy, often conceptualized as your soul, naturally settles into its most stable phase. It exists in a balloon animal approximation of your body, floating in semi-darkness among other souls, slowly streaming toward a white light far away.
As you approach the white light, you realize it’s actually a terrifying scene as details come into focus. On the left, a gargantuan, naked Satan floats in front of an inferno backdrop fading to black at left. On the right, an equally gigantic, white robed Jesus floats in front of a pastoral backdrop fading to black at right. The ground of both backdrops are Their elbow height, merging in the middle to jut out into a tabletop separating Them.
In turn, Jesus or Satan grabs a floating, action figure sized soul by one end to examine it. If the soul were Christian, the Grabber offers the other end to the Other to grab. After a quick stare down, and nods to signify readiness, Jesus and Satan pull mightily to coalesce the soul’s good and evil towards Their respective ends, until the soul proportionately rips in two! Jesus then absorbs his twitching golden share by squeezing it between his palms for a smooth absorption. Satan, meanwhile, consumes his flailing red share with his mouth for a discordantly jarring absorption.
Things get even more interesting with the non-Christian souls! Upon sensing no resonation with Their energy in the soul, Jesus or Satan would drop the hand holding that soul down to Their side. Shaking their head, they would then rest Their other elbow on that land tabletop separating Them, and offer Their other hand to arm wrestle for the non-Christian soul!
As shocking as it might be to know Jesus gambled via arm wrestling, it was actually Jesus’ idea! He had made this deal with the devil eons ago after observing how much Adam and Eve enjoyed arm wrestling once out of the Garden of Eden. Jesus made the deal because He believed He would always win. After all, He was all supreme as the first humans He created frequently told him. Satan, meanwhile, just vainly believed He was all supreme. By chance, Jesus and Satan were very evenly matched creatures.
Knowing this truth now, will you choose to be Christian and justly get your soul split? Or will you choose not believe and take your chances in an all or nothing gambit?